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Crowned Desires

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It was dark out. Each of Floyd’s (13) muscled burned as he sprinted as fast as he could. His chest heaved up and down as his lungs burned. His legs felt as if they would give out at any moment, sending him collapsing into the cobbled roads, never to get up again. His arms ached as he moved them in a rhythmic motion, trying to keep going forwards. Even his eyes strained against the dark, sore from the constant rush of wind in his face. His mouth was dry, so he lifted his orange scarf over his nose, feeling his humid breath against the lower part of his face.
Finally, after an eternity of running uphill, Floyd fell to one knee in front of Spadixia’s grand castle. The two guards standing at the entrance pointed their swords at him, one of which using his other hand to shine a lantern on his face.

GUARD 1
State your name and purpose!

FLOYD
It’s me...Floyd....

Floyd barely managed to choke the words out. His lungs currently felt as if they were being turned inside out, each labored breath coursing through his small frame.

GUARD 2
...Floyd...?

GUARD 1
Yes! Floyd! He’s the captain’s son!

There is was. They didn’t know him, but they most certainly knew his brother.

GUARD 2
Ah, yes! Floyd! Sorry about that. C’mon in.

Floyd nodded, managing to stand as he was ushered inside by the two guards. A small knot had formed in his throat, but was sucked down to fill the vacuum left by his airless state. He had wanted to remind the guard that this had happened before, had happened every single night for too long now.
He barely made it to the guard’s quarters before he collapsed.
The guard’s quarters themselves were warm and inviting, being the place where many soldiers and their captains came to unwind after a long day of drills and all sorts of other stuff he wasn’t quite privy to.
Ichor (26) sat at the center of the laughing room, taking a sip of his beer while his men exchanged witty banter and jokes. In the glow of the lamps surrounding, his freckled face, dusky skin and sandy hair were given an almost angelic glow. It was a look that many had swooned over, and belonging to a man everyone admired deeply. Floyd wished for a moment (had wished for years) that he was as handsome, as charismatic and cunning as his brother. Maybe then people would address him as “Floyd Luteus” not “the captain’s brother.”
Ichor quickly caught sight of his brother, slumped into a wooden chair, raising his hand to bring silence.

ICHOR
Floyd! So glad you’re finally here! Where were you? It’s almost midnight.

FLOYD
...Running...Since noon...

ICHOR
Well come over here and have a drink with us!

Floyd shook his head, trying to keep the room from spinning. He swooned almost dramatically, trying to get his brother to inquire about his wellbeing.

FLOYD
Legal drinking age.

ICHOR
No worries! What happens in here stays in here.

Ichor held his mug out to Floyd. Having sweated his organs out since high noon, the dark, translucent liquid inside seemed fresh and inviting. However, Floyd shook his head, curling up in his chair and pulling his knees against his chest.

FLOYD
Can’t. Trying to get stronger.

Without waiting for a response, Ichor went back to talking with his soldiers, who roared with laughter and cheered him on as he downed cup after cup. None of the soldiers paid any mind to the soundless vacuum Floyd now found himself in. One small phrase had caught on his tongue, and he now fought to keep it down, knowing that Ichor’s excellent ears would pick it up from across the room.

‘Trying to get stronger, so you’ll be proud of me.’